Editor’s note: We asked for your thoughts on the slaughter in Las Vegas, including the immediate calls for more restrictions on gun ownership. Here’s some of what you said. Write us about our news and commentary at letters@dailysignal.com —Ken McIntyre

Dear Daily Signal: I appreciate your asking for our opinion. I consider myself a conservative Republican. My dad taught me about the safe operation and use of firearms when I was a child.

I’ve been hunting since I was 10 years old, took the hunter safety course when I was 14, and have enjoyed and appreciate the rights the Second Amendment affords me over the years.

I also joined the National Rifle Association as a lifelong subscriber a few years back. I do not support the general, broad-brush statement that more gun control will make our country safer.

That being said, my position on “bump stocks” and other devices that effectively can turn a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon is that they should be treated in the same manner as fully automatic weapons are under the law.

In addition, I believe we should search for a better way to diagnose and identify the mental state of citizens who wish to purchase firearms or any type of explosive materials.

I realize it is extremely difficult to accomplish anything in Washington with the Congress and country as divided as we currently are, but we must find a way to have an honest conversation about this issue and come up with reasonable solutions. We must guard against the “give them an inch and they will take a mile” gun control trend, but we need to compromise on this issue. Our representatives owe us this.

Finally, we as a country must do a better job of exploring the root causes of mental illness, and we must identify and devote the resources necessary to implement better ways of treating different forms of mental illness.Lee W. Currie

Dear Daily Signal: After the atrocity in Las Vegas at the country music festival where, at last count, a man murdered nearly 60 innocent people in cold blood and wounded or injured more than 525, Congress is trying to decide what to do about it.

In other words: What new law can we force onto the American people to prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again?

Hillary Clinton is suggesting that conservatives should come to the table and pass a law banning gun “silencers” and stop kowtowing to the NRA. This, of course, would prevent nothing, but what the heck, we could now say that we did something, right?

Silencers, as reported by The Daily Signal, silence nothing. The video clearly shows that the silencer suppresses the sound coming from the gun to protect the shooter’s ears, but does not silence it. I think that perhaps Hillary is watching too much TV.

Other suggestions have been to ban automatic weapons. The problem with that argument is that automatic weapons have been banned since 1986.

Which brings me to “bump stocks,” those conversion kits that in essence change a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon. Banning conversion kits makes all the sense in the world to me. Why ban automatic weapons if you are not going to ban readily available conversion kits? But in reality, even that would not have prevented the atrocity in Vegas.

Leah Libresco, a statistician and former writer for FiveThirtyEight, did analytical studies on 33,000 American deaths by gun. She essentially concluded, as she wrote in The Washington Post, that no law that Congress could pass would change anything, especially considering that a high percentage of gun deaths are suicides. No new gun law could prevent that.

Let’s look at the atrocity in Vegas through the perspective of reality: Stephen Paddock killed people with malice aforethought and premeditation by discharging a firearm in public. He ignored several laws, and I doubt that adding a few more would have mattered.

The people who commit these crimes could care less about the law. Adding more laws simply puts more restrictions on law-abiding Americans.

The comedian Ron White once said, “You can’t fix stupid.” What Congress refuses to admit is: You can’t legislate sanity. Crazy people do crazy things, and no amount of law is going to change that.—Gregory Morris, Boonsboro, Md.

Dear Daily Signal: How would gun control have had any effect on the Las Vegas shooter?  There are questions as to whether his guns, configured for automatic fire, were legal to begin with, but no law could have changed his mindset.

He purchased the guns and was subject to a background check for every gun purchased. How did that work out? Finally, how did he spend five days preparing his lair without somebody noticing something out of the ordinary? Nothing in this case makes sense.—Ken Marx, Fort Worth, Texas

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Citizens need to be able to protect ourselves. Control the bad guys. Get metal detectors and investigate gun manufacturers.—Gail O’Malley, Dallas

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If the Democrats have their way, only they and their constituents will have guns. Only honest people would turn in their guns.—Darrell Johnson

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With the citizens of Las Vegas getting together to help one another, our political leaders need to take notice and get together for what is best for America, and stop the fighting.—P.P., MississippiF

Dear Daily Signal: I’m 82, a target shooter, former hunter, and holder of a concealed carry permit in Florida and California. At one time I owned a sporting goods store and sold guns.

In the 1980s I quit the NRA because they were advocating legalization of fully automatic weapons. As someone who served seven years in the military, I am acquainted with fully automatic weapons such as the .45-caliber “grease gun” and .30- and .50-caliber machine guns. I was a tank crewman.

Long story short: I am totally against the availability of any fully automatic weapon or any device to simulate such weapons, as well as any firearm that can readily be converted to such. A fully automatic weapon is designed for one purpose—to kill as many people in as little time as possible.

I am also opposed to any and all availability of these weapons to police officers. Only military use of fully automatic weapons should be authorized.

In addition, FBI investigations, as currently conducted, are ineffective. They need to be improved in such a way as to prevent felons and “sick” people from obtaining weapons.

Also, when any person buys significant numbers of guns over short periods of time, that should be flagged for authorities. This would allow them to determine the reasons for such purchases.Jim Morrell, Oroville, Calif.

I am a staunch conservative, a supporter of President Trump, a defender of the Bill of Rights, and the owner of a 9mm handgun for personal protection. I also think, following the Las Vegas massacre, it’s time we ban semi-automatic weapons in this country. Here’s why.

First, the Second Amendment was written in 1791, and although it certainly guarantees our right to bear arms, there is no way James Madison and the others could have foreseen the type of weaponry available in the 21st century.  

Second, the argument goes: “Take the guns away from the good guys and the bad guys will still have their guns.” Well, until Sunday, Stephen Paddock was a good guy without a criminal record who was able to arm himself to the teeth.  

Third, one doesn’t need a semi-automatic gun for hunting, target practice, sport shooting, or personal protection. Leave the rifles, shotguns, and handguns alone, but let’s get the semi-autos off the market.

Now is the time for conservatives to take a serious look at gun ownership in the U.S. When our fellow citizens are slaughtered, the simplistic “it’s my right” defense just isn’t working anymore.Paul B., Albuquerque, N.M.

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Evil is evil. No gun controls are going to master that. No amount of restrictions will stop black market weapons from being sold. No amount of controls will stop those with this evil inside them to commit these crimes.

These people feed off misery. Look at our movies, TV shows, video games. What are they full of ? Death and violence. If controls are needed, it is indeed on these games that fill the minds of our children and adults alike. I pray some solution is found.—Tonie Dalton

Does anyone remember the comedian Flip Wilson and Geraldine, the character he played sometimes? Geraldine’s signature phrase was, “The devil made me do it.”

While not totally correct, it comes closer than some of the rhetoric being used to explain the actions of people such as the Las Vegas mass murderer.

People sin because of their own desires, the Bible says (James 1:12-16). And where do those sinful desires come from? You got it: Satan, or “the devil.”

Is the devil so powerful that he can actually make people commit murder or other acts of sin? Certainly not. James 4:7-8 says: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

Sorry, Geraldine. You can’t blame it on the devil. And no one can blame murder, or any sin, on anyone or anything except the person who committed it.Betty Pettus, Sherwood, Ark.

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It is not the gun that is at fault. The criminal is going to do what he has in mind, and guns have been our salvation many times.

This world should go back to old times, when kids got a whipping when needed, got paddled in school, and had to work coming up—but most of all, still had God involved in everyday life. Now Christ has been taken out of everything, so that is really why crime is so bad.—Margie Tenchipe

About 30,000 people a year die by guns in the U.S. Most are suicides. About 10,000 of the deaths from guns are because of criminal acts; the perpetrators are imprisoned when found. 

Gang violence, and unfortunately black-on-black crime, is a major cause in about 5,500 killings. If you kill somebody with a gun and get caught, you go to jail. The exception is self-defense.

The four major cities with the strongest gun control laws account for 1,300 of these deaths; essentially 25 percent of gun violence occurs in Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, and Washington, D.C. All of these cities have been run by Democrats for long periods.

About 3 percent of gun deaths are accidents or mass shootings; the majority of the latter are committed by people taking antidepressants or other drugs.

I am a pragmatist. I think the right approach is to take care of the people who are likely to act irrationally. Laws curtailing Second Amendment rights never will be approved by Congress, no matter how loud anyone yells.

On the other hand, about 900,000 abortions a year occur in the U.S. alone, 30 times the number of deaths caused by guns (or 180 times if you don’t count suicides and law enforcement deaths).

These unborn babies are killed legally every year, yet nobody goes to jail. Abortion is a worldwide phenomenon, while gun deaths are primarily a U.S. problem, with minor exceptions.

So in the ratio of abortions to deaths by guns, practically every other country exceeds the U.S. ratio of 180 to 1. You decide whether there is any moral equivalency.

Finally, remember it is called gun control for a reason, with emphasis on the word “control.” Some 6 million Jews lost their lives to the German Nazis because they had no means to defend themselves. Today, the Yazidi men and women in Iraq wish they had guns to defend themselves against the Islamic State.Niki Pasricha, Pleasant Hill, Calif.

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Congress is the only U.S. authority that can make law, unfortunately for Jimmy Kimmel and the other gun-banners.

The Supreme Court can’t make law either. The First and Second Amendments are both unalienable, and members of Congress can’t violate these rights. If they do, they are subject to impeachment and removal.G.H.

My first thought is this was a terrible massacre. No reason for it except whatever reason was in the shooter’s mind—and we don’t know that yet, if we will ever know. And that is what is so hard in trying to grasp it and how it happened.

This incident will illuminate and highlight two sorts of worldviews that I believe contribute to our polarization. One worldview is liberal, which I think tends to everything can be solved through laws, regulations, rehabilitation (fixing people), and prohibitions. The other is more conservative, which tends to people are people (good and bad) and ultimately and at some level we have to live with that if we are to remain free.

On a smaller scale, I relate it to motorcycles. You used to be able to buy a motorcycle and you didn’t need a special license to drive it. The individual had the responsibility to figure that out. Kind of like learning to ride a bicycle.

But now we have requirements such as you must attend a school on motorcycle operation to get a special license and provide proof, along with passing special motorcycle tests. And in the process we give up freedom, subjecting ourselves to all kinds of steps.

Personally, I’d rather not. I figured it out myself and these all seem like barriers to me, making owning a motorcycle more difficult. And that’s just one tiny part of life. It’s a pattern repeated again and again in so many ways in our daily lives. If you take just one part by itself, segregate it and look at it on its own, it doesn’t seem so bad. But taken as a whole affecting many parts of our lives, it really restricts freedom.

So guns have become sort of a red line in this insidious process to me. I have no obsession with firearms. I own a couple revolvers. I haven’t shot them in years. I can’t afford a new semi-automatic pistol, and surely not a new rifle. And ammunition is not cheap either.

But I support the NRA and look at proposed gun control regulations very closely. Are they worth the additional loss of freedom (a freedom specifically noted in the Constitution) and an individual’s right to live as he or she likes even in the wake of a mass shooting incident like Las Vegas?

Some regulation is necessary to live together in society. But how much? I subscribe to the less-is-more theory in most cases, but also holding the individual accountable for what they do rather than by regulating the masses.

I would support prohibitions on the “bump stock” or other devices that make semi-automatic firearms function as automatic rifles. I would not support bans on all semi-automatic weapons. I would support increases in sentences on people who use guns in criminal activity, including much longer prison sentences.

Mental health issues are more difficult. I think you can make access more available to treat the conditions that make someone want to strike out against society. But sometimes that is all about perspective. Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder, for example, or people who have someone else figuring out and monitoring their Social Security benefits. Should they all lose their Second Amendment rights?

So we choose our sides, we try to understand perspectives. But in the end we have human nature. If we try to capture that nature too much, restrict it beyond some level and create too many laws based on complicated behavior designations, freedom will disappear for law-abiding people and not just criminals. Our problems may become 1,000 times worse than they are today.—Dave Peck, Oregon

Yes, Hillary, it would have been so much better had the maniac flown his private plane into the crowd and killed 5,000 people instead. Maybe we should outlaw private planes, especially those transporting politicians.

And all the senators and press who say the “bump stock” turns a semi-automatic rifle into an automatic rifle are ignorant. It does, however, alter the shooter’s shoulder and finger actions, making the gun fire faster than with trigger pulls.

Plus the ridiculous stats saying such a gun shoots 800 rounds per minute. A rifle can shoot 800 rounds per minute only if it has a clip holding 800 rounds, or shoots rounds in a long belt.

Maybe we could subject all those who use banks to a background check, so that we can identify bank robbers. Or do the bad guys just not follow the laws and register?

So much disinformation, so little reason.Marco D.

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Murder has been around a long time. It precedes the Ten Commandments. The problems with “gun control” are several.

A gun ban favors the big, strong criminal over any smaller potential victim: “The Lord made big men. The Lord made small men (and especially women). Colonel Colt made them all equal.” It isn’t quite that simple, but close.

The risk of being arrested, prosecuted, and convicted of violating a gun law is large for an otherwise law-abiding person. Granted you might carry a gun for some time without being detected, but it’s also possible you could go an even longer time without being attacked.

If arrested, your law-abiding life is at risk (licenses revoked, employment stigma, and so on). If attacked, maybe it will just cost your wallet or watch, or maybe you’ll be sexually assaulted.

Criminals have a different calculus. If arrested, firearms offenses are usually throwaways in plea bargains. When “Use a gun, go to jail” is true, the calculus changes.

So the deterrent effect of law is asymmetrical. Funny thing, criminals don’t obey the law.

Gun bans also fail on other grounds. Banning anything creates a black market. Think alcohol, and now drugs. Supply is limited in a number of ways. Criminal background checks, for instance, also apply to black market guns. If you aren’t a verifiable criminal, the local armorer, drug dealer, or whoever won’t even admit anything is for sale.

In California, Oakland and San Francisco ran the legal gun dealers out of town a generation ago. Crooks still have guns and kill, mostly each other.

Chicago has stringent gun control and lots of murders. Nationwide, 6 out of 10 murders are shootings. In Chicago, it’s 9 out of 10.

Even in the U.K., stringent gun control has not eliminated guns from criminal activity, but has brought back long knives and swords as lower-cost expedients. Again, with swords and knives the size of the perpetrator matters.

It takes a lot of skill, or much superior size, to level the playing field with even an unskilled swordsman.—Chuck Warren, San Francisco, Calif.

We all know gun control will not work. But neither will lamenting the problem or endlessly saying what will not work. We need to talk about what will work.

Anger and violence are rampant and increasing these days. Seems to me, addressing that would help.  

But we can’t just say, “Stop the violence!” We have to replace it with compassion. We have to teach others how to have compassion.

People are hurting. That’s why they’re so angry. We who have sense can refuse to pass anger on to others. We can be not only the buffer needed to calm a situation; we can be the ones to lift others up and call them to more worthy endeavors.

We can be the ones to bring help to the hurting. The best way I know to do that is to practise the compassion of Christ.

Compassion is an honest caring about people to the point you do something that actually helps. It’s getting out of yourself and making your life count for something. Jesus did that over and over again. We can go to God and he will tell us what people really need at the moment and how to meet those needs just like Jesus did.

No government mandate can fix the problem. We need a cultural change. And that can happen only one person at a time. We’ve been seeing negative cultural changes. We need to change the culture back to the positive, and even exceed the neighborliness that used to be.

Now, I know some will decry what I say. Fine. You come up with an solution that actually will work. So far, I’ve seen none in various articles and posts. But I’ve seen lives turned around by lifting people up and showing them the compassion of Christ.Jeffrey Moore, Oceanside, Calif.

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I believe assault weapons ought not to be held by the general population, but I do believe that the right to have guns should never be taken from us. I do not want the government to be the only ones in possession of guns.—Marilyn Meicke

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The tightening of gun control laws only will make guns more expensive. The bad guys will always be able to acquire guns; they will just be more expensive. Guns will become another item that the countries that produce them will smuggle into the USA. Just like illegal drugs.

We also should establish gun instruction in high schools and include it in the regular curriculum. That will take away the fear of guns that our younger generation has and equip them with the proper way to handle guns. Remember, “Only a good guy with a gun will stop a bad guy with a gun.”—Ray Santos, Alexandria, Va.